Advertising, An Industry With Heart #FFWDadweek

Guest Post:  Lisa Gervais has 14 years experience in Digital Marketing, over the course of her career, she has lead online campaigns for IBM Canada, Rogers Communications and Fidelity Investments Canada as well as project managed campaigns on behalf of Warner Bros, Dyson, Mattel and Spin Master to name but a few. You can connect with Lisa on Linkedin or Twitter.

It’s not always about the pursuit of profit. Sometimes, it’s about giving hope to an individual or community by providing expertise that enables them to succeed. This was the underlying JWT Ethosmessage of Tony Pigott’s presentation at  FFWD Advertising and Marketing Week 2013. Tony is the global CEO of JWT Ethos and Co-Founder of a Canadian social enterprise called Brandaid Project. The mandate is to provide brand and marketing support, as well as collaboration and distribution opportunities, for exceptional product lines by artisan microenterprises in developing economies.

Brandaid Project partners with a number of creative agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, JWT Toronto, JWT Montreal, Taxi, DDBO, TBWA, Tunji Design as well as several others to provide expertise in the areas of brand and marketing material development. Furthermore, the project facilitates co-creation partnerships with craftsmen and established designers, such as fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg, to created commercially viable, and highly marketable, collections. Finally, it develops sustainable retail distribution channels that command fair market value in world economies, which ensures that artists receive equitable compensation for their work.

“Poverty needs marketing” Pigott advocated. “There is an enormous untapped source of talent” he continued. The challenge is that these artisans have no means to get their goods to the larger global market. What’s more, when they do manage to sell their goods to a global distributor, they typically earn three cents on the dollar for their wares. Instead, Brandaid Project has enabled product lines to be featured at upscale retailers such as Selfridges in London, England and Macy’s in the United States.

The enterprise has been developing its program in areas of the world such as Laos, South Mexico and North Africa and, since the crisis, has had a particular focus on Haiti. Pigott described to his audience of agency and marketing professionals the work that the enterprise has been involved in with one brand that operates outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti called Croix des Bouquets. Inspired by African mysteries and ancestral slavery, metalwork artists sculpt beautiful, ornate sacred scenarios of Vodu from recycled oil drums. Wages earned by the artists in turn benefit the community. Individual families are elevating from poverty and are able to afford the basic necessities of life such as education and healthcare.

Brandaid Project is enabling new micro brands through micro marketing. “Handmade artisans are a large part of the developing world” Piggott informed his listeners. He concluded with an inspiring message. “It is possible to have both quality and equality.”